LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) – A viral meningitis outbreak at the University of Maryland, College Park is spreading, officials say.

The university said in a statement released Thursday that there have been 31 confirmed or suspected cases of the infection since mid-October.

Dr. David McBride, director of the University Health Center, says about 19 students have been hospitalized for “supportive treatment.”

McBride is urging the university community to take the following preventative measures:

  • Wash your hands frequently, particularly after using the bathroom
  • Stay at home and rest if you are ill to avoid infecting others and avoid those who are sick
  • Clean high touch surfaces in your living space (keyboards, doorknobs)
  • If you are recovering from the infection and you share a bathroom, be sure to clean the bathroom with commercial disinfectant or bleach
  • Avoid kissing and sharing glasses and utensils
  • If you have an underlying medical condition that causes compromise of your immune system, special vigilance to these measures is important

Viral meningitis is the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms of viral meningitis include severe headache, fever, nausea, chills, sore throat, light sensitivity and stiff neck. Viral meningitis is often less severe than bacterial meningitis, which is a potentially fatal condition.

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